by Trevin Wax, Bible and Reference Publisher, LifeWay Christian Resources.
Sometimes, we think about sanctification the same way we think about our new FitbitTM. We think that if we just give people tools that can track their spiritual habits and practices, such as a Bible reading plan, or a prayer journal, or a new book, then that will be the silver bullet to get people walking more with the Lord.
I thank God for these tools and methods. Sometimes, they work. But more often than not, it doesn’t last. Measurement does not motivate. A reading plan won’t change the heart. These tools are a nice way to track your progress in a spiritual discipline. But unless your motivation comes from something deeper than tracking your progress, you are unlikely to stick with it.
Worship as Motivator
Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s good to have an intentional plan for discipleship. It is good to follow a Bible-reading plan, a prayer book, or a Bible study with people from your church.
But we should not assume that life change comes from the newest tool. Measures can lead to temporary obedience, but it can’t remove and replace a settled, sinful heart.
The problem is deeper. It’s a worship issue. Our destructive behaviors are not just behaviors. They are a symptom of a deeper problem—idolatry. Our affections are elsewhere. Our behavior follows our affections. And only the gospel can change the affections to the point that behavior follows.
So whether you’re wearing a new Fitbit or trying to keep up with a Bible reading plan, make sure you’re tending to the relationship with Jesus that will motivate your heart, not just to the tools that will measure your activity.
Learn more about the Christian Standard Bible, designed to help readers make a deeper connection with God’s Word and inspire lifelong discipleship.